Suzi and I are working our way through Basque Country by Marti Buckley. We had plans for a spring trip to Spain and Portugal this year. Life has some twists and that trip will occur next year. Which is good news because we can spend more time learning about the cuisines, particularly the Basque region in both northern Spain and southern France. takes you on a tour of the real food of the Basque homeland. These are the dishes of each mother and grandmother and the little restaurants that may be out of the way but worth a trip.

Piquillo peppers are sweet and incredibly red as you can see. In Basque pintxo bars, you can eat them stuffed with meat or fish. And, they can be served as a side dish, in place of a sauce.

Here are two ways to prepare them: fresh or preserved in a jar. Either way, they bring color and charm to your table.


With Fresh Piquillo Peppers

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 16 fresh piquillo peppers
  • ¼ cup (60 nil) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Flaky sea salt

Preparation:

If using fresh peppers: Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Toss the peppers with the olive oil and spread out on the baking sheet. Broil for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through.

Remove from the oven and close the foil over the peppers. Set aside to steam for about 10 minutes. Open the foil carefully, then peel the peppers, leaving the stern on. Arrange them on a platter.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

With Preserved Piquillo Peppers

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 16 preserved piquillo peppers (1 jar, 390 g)
  • ¾ cup (iso mL) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Flaky sea salt

Preparation:

If using preserved peppers: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat. When the garlic turns a light golden color, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the peppers to the pan and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat so that the oil is just barely bubbling. Flip the peppers and cook for about S minutes more.

Carefully transfer the peppers to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, which will condense the flavor of the peppers and further caramelize them.

Gently transfer the peppers to a serving platter and scatter with the golden garlic.

To serve, drizzle the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.


Source: Basque Country by Marti Buckley [Artisan, 2018]